National believes that people are better off in work. While welfare is an important safety net, it is intended to be a temporary fix rather than a trap.
For the more than 10,000 New Zealanders who have left welfare and got into work in the past year, it was just that – a temporary stopgap.
Sole parents have led the way in the drop in numbers on welfare – 70% of those who have left welfare are sole parents, across the age ranges.
This means fewer children living in welfare-dependent homes, at risk of being stuck in the welfare trap themselves.
The headway we are making now will pay off for generations.
It is also positive for the country as sole parents, particularly those who go on benefits in their teens, have the highest lifetime costs of any group on welfare.
Intensive support has been targeted at sole parents, such as help with childcare and study, which has made getting into the workforce an achievable goal.
With the number of New Zealanders on benefits continuing to track downwards, National’s welfare reforms are working.
There are 3300 fewer people on Jobseeker Support compared to the figures in 2013. Reductions in the number of people on Jobseeker Support have been recorded in most regions across New Zealand.
These people are now able to make a valuable contribution to our growing economy, and their children can thrive in families with financial independence and working role models.
The best way out of poverty is through work. That is why we have set targets to reduce the number of people on welfare by 25%, with a series of initiatives to support beneficiaries into work.
Some of these initiatives include offering incentives to beneficiaries who stay in work, expanding Youth Service to people aged under 20, and expanding the ‘$3k Initiative’ in the Christchurch scheme to other regions needing energetic and motivated workers.
A number of our initiatives are targeted at young people, giving them guidance into education, training or employment, budgeting support, and help paying their bills. They deserve to be shown how to reach their potential, not consigned to the welfare system.
National’s reforms are giving beneficiaries and their families more of a hand-up than a handout so they can look forward to a better future with more opportunities.
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi has been a Member of Parliament on National List since 2008.